Thursday, June 15, 2017

What The "Gosnell" Case Can Teach Pro-Life Advocates

Just this morning before I headed in to work for the day I was able to finish reading the Gosnell book that I had been given by a friend who works at a local Pregnancy Resource Center. I was able to finish it within a few days, although I do read fairly quickly as it is. Overall, this was the most disturbing story I have ever read about, and I have to say, it is extremely disheartening to consider that this entire ordeal came to light in a modern American city within just the last few years.

The story of Kermit Gosnell really needs to be looked at by pro-life advocates, in terms of what the reality of abortion is, how far some are willing to go in order to defend abortion "rights", and the monstrosity of the act of abortion on a living, though immature, human being. The story, as I will explain below, also sheds light on the strategy of using graphic images of abortion to reach hearts and minds that may never otherwise consider the issue in light of what happens to an unborn human being during abortion.

The story was written by two Irish journalists who detail the way the Philadelphia Police Department stumbled upon the crimes against humanity that were going on inside the abortion clinic known as the "Women's Health Society". They discovered that numerous women had been injured during botched procedures, infected sexually through the use of contaminated medical instruments, exposed to conditions in the clinic that seemed more appropriate to a Middle Ages medicine practice than to a twenty-first century women's health center, and even killed during botched procedures.

Even more ghastly than all of this was the way in which Gosnell treated the babies of women whose abortion procedures accidentally resulted in the baby being born. Gosnell would, in many instances "snip" the spinal cords of babies who had managed to survive the procedures.

Gosnell's practice was exposed to the public through the work of the Philadelphia PD, and other law enforcement agencies, and he was charged with multiple crimes, including infanticide and homicide.

The jury was, as the authors noted, comprised mainly of men and women who considered themselves "pro-choice" on abortion, and two who had considered themselves neither pro-choice or pro-life on the issue. As the trial commenced and continued over the course of the weeks, there was a change among many, if not all, of the jurors on their stance towards abortion.

The reason this changed is that the jury was exposed to the reality of abortion. It is quite easy to refer to oneself as pro-"choice" or "Women's rights". It can be quite another to know what those choices or rights will really entail. During the expert testimony of the Gosnell case, an expert witness from a local medical center was brought in to testify as to the procedures of abortion themselves, in order to determine for the jury whether or not Gosnell had killed the babies in his clinic "legally".

As the authors note, one of the instances in which the defense attorney for Kermit Gosnell, Jack McMahon, attempted to argue that Gosnell had killed the babies legally involved McMahon asking an abortionist, who was an expert witness in the case, to walk him through the steps of a legal abortion procedure. This, in turn, sickened the members of the jury, who were beginning to question their pro-choice views.

The prosecution also proceeded to display the images that were taken by investigators during the raid on Gosnell's clinic. The images showed the bodily remains of human fetuses scattered around in various containers, kitty litter boxes, milk jugs, and even toilets.

The images shown and the details of what happened to babies during both illegal and legal abortions brings up a point worth considering: Abortion is a horrifying, dehumanizing act of violence against an innocent human being. This case wasn't made to the jury by pro-life advocates. This was made by a judge and prosecution who were working to convict Kermit Gosnell while still defending abortion rights in public. The main point should not be missed: Abortion protests itself when it is shown honestly. Pro-life advocates, and those who consider themselves pro-life on the issue of abortion would do well to learn from the Gosnell case, in that being honest about what abortion is does a lot to persuade a public that has never considered the implications of being "pro-choice".

Provided, honesty about abortion should always be coupled with compassion towards those who are deeply wounded by the issue. When truth and compassion go hand in hand, hearts can be reached, and lives can be saved. The culture at large needs to be informed of just what abortion does to an unborn human being, and as the Gosnell case shows, images can be the most effective way of doing this.

The Gosnell book is one that everyone should pick up and read in order to understand just what consequences can result from bad ideas, and in order to understand the role that advocates for the life of innocent human beings must take so as to reach a culture that has attempted to move on from abortion without asking first, "Who stands to lose if we don't do anything about abortion?" The answer is obvious to anyone willing to ask.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Abortion is What Planned Parenthood Does [Eric Metaxas, G. Shane Morris]

Eric Metaxas did the BreakPoint commentary on June 7 regarding Planned Parenthood and its ties to abortion. BreakPoint has generously allowed me to share it here on our blog. Click here for the original article (where you can also find further reading and more information), and be sure to subscribe to BreakPoint on iTunes.
What does Planned Parenthood do? Everyone seems to know the answer except Planned Parenthood.
When I say “Colgate,” what comes to mind? Well, toothpaste, of course. Too bad no one in the 1980s explained that to Colgate when they launched a line of frozen dinners named “Colgate Kitchen Entrees.” Understandably, customers found the idea of eating food from a toothpaste company less than appetizing, and the whole experiment bit the dust.
But there’s another brand today trying very hard to convince the public that it sells more than one product. Planned Parenthood has spent the last few years insisting that its clinics offer all kinds of services besides abortions. As the latest stunt in this ongoing campaign, they’ve partnered with “Avengers” director Joss Whedon to produce a high-budget ad titled “Unlocked.”
In this three-minute propaganda piece, Whedon depicts a world without Planned Parenthood. It’s a dark and scary place where a mother dies of cancer because she can’t get screenings, where a couple breaks up because of a sexually transmitted disease, and where a young woman’s dreams of college are crushed by a positive pregnancy test.
Speaking with TIME magazine, Whedon said that if Planned Parenthood shuts down, “millions of people lose access to basic health services” like contraception, cancer screenings, and sex ed. In other words, he’s parroting the talking points we’ve heard non-stop from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and others who insist that the organization “does so much more than abortion.”
But as our friends at Save the Storks point out, Planned Parenthood’s 2014-15 annual report shows that they perform a meager 1 percent of the nation’s pap smears, and less than 2 percent of all clinical breast exams. The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute reports that over 80 percent of teens receive sex ed instruction from somewhere besides an abortion clinic, and contrary to repeated claims by Planned Parenthood’s leadership and advocates, they perform a grand total of zero mammograms.
In other words, all 650 Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics in the U.S. barely participate in real healthcare. In fact, Americans so rarely choose this abortion giant for other services, we hardly notice when the few clinics not offering abortions close.
LiveAction News reports that Planned Parenthood quietly shuttered three of its six New Mexico facilities, all of which were dedicated to those “other services.” Apparently, they weren’t covering expenses. Waving off the closures as no big deal, a Planned Parenthood regional official said—get this—that community health centers could pick up the slack. She might as well have admitted her organization’s services were not needed.
Colgate sells toothpaste, and Planned Parenthood sells abortions—more than anyone else in the business. In fact, it’s where over a third of all abortions in America happen. We know how Planned Parenthood’s bread is buttered, and Planned Parenthood employees know it, too.
Recent footage from undercover investigator David Daleiden captured affiliates at the National Abortion Federation conference who spoke openly of Planned Parenthood “selling” fetal body parts to “increase revenue.” Some also joked about pulling unborn babies apart and how “gross” it is when tiny eyeballs fall into their laps.
YouTube quickly removed the video, and now U.S. District Judge William Orrick is considering contempt sanctions against Daleiden, who’s already facing fifteen felony charges for taking this undercover footage in the first place.
Planned Parenthood wants to be known for nicer, less horrifying, less controversial services. But ladies and gentlemen, at the end of the day, their name means one thing: abortion. And lives depend on putting this big-name brand out of business
Written by: Eric Metaxas and G. Shane Morris
Reprinted by permission

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"If Men Could Get Pregnant, Abortion Would No Longer Be an Issue"

Among all the bad pro-choice sound bites that are thrown around in a culture that seems to thrive on tweets and memes, this has to be by far the worst one I have come across. During a discussion on the abortion issue in a sociology class a few months back, a student in the class made this comment in response to the professor talking about the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned in the near future.

Now, aside from being an extremely prejudiced statement (as if simply being male or female can determine the validity of an argument or idea) this assertion offers little in the way of an actual argument against the pro-life case.

The assertion that if I was able to become pregnant, I'd be pro-choice(I'd be female, if that was the case, and my mom and doctor would have quite a bit of explaining to do...), is so laughably bad, it needs an appropriate response:




Now that we've taken care of that, let's review the pro-life argument:

1. It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.

2. Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being.

Conclusion: Therefore, abortion is wrong.

If both premises are true, and the conclusion logically follows from the premises, then the argument is sound. The statement that "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be legal and widely available" does nothing to answer the argument put forward by pro-lifers (including pro-life women). The statement "Abortion is wrong" is either true or false, regardless of the gender of the persons saying it.

However, let's just assume, for the sake of discussion, that men could become pregnant. (Again, setting aside the fact that this would mean that there would no longer be biological males, but just assume it to be the case).

What does this end up meaning? If men could get pregnant, would this mean it is suddenly, magically acceptable to intentionally kill an innocent human being? In turn, would this also mean that abortion does not intentionally kill an innocent human being? How does something as arbitrary as gender, or even skin color, determine the answers to those questions? The science of embryology relies upon empirical research to determine the answer to the question "What is an embryo?", which is completely independent of the gender of the persons doing the research. The embryo either has an intrinsic human nature or it does not. Because of this, abortion is still a moral wrong even if men could become pregnant. Pro-lifers are not arguing that abortion is a moral wrong as long as it is done by women. Instead,  we argue that abortion is wrong because it unjustly ends the life of an innocent human being.

The statement does nothing to answer the arguments pro-lifers make against elective abortion, and instead relies on the very controversial assumption that all efforts to restrict abortion are based in a sort of "patriarchal" society that "oppresses" women. Even if that was the case, intentionally taking the life of an innocent human being would still be wrong. Even if a society is inherently unjust towards women and girls, the answer to such an injustice is to try and right the wrongs being done, not promote a further injustice against more innocent human beings who cannot defend themselves. Such a response is foolish and callous, and ends up resulting in the conclusion that the only way women and girls can respond to being mistreated is to turn around and mistreat other innocent humans who happen to be in their immediate care.

That, in itself, is the anti-woman and patriarchal view.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pro-Life Students: Make The Most of Your Summer

Now that school has ended for the semester, you may be wondering what you should do next with the time you have off. You  may be wondering how to make the break between semesters meaningful and how to continue to spread the pro-life message while not in school or while taking summer courses.

Here are three things that I have found helpful:

1. Start reading

Start growing your knowledge on the abortion issue; in particular, you not only should, but you must become an apologist. We all have had questions asked of us such as, "Why are you pro-life?" Having a ready answer is crucial for being an effective pro-life ambassador within your sphere of influence. With that in mind, it is of the utmost importance to understand the logic of the pro-life argument, and have at least a basic knowledge of what questions may be asked of you.

Here are several books that every pro-life student, whether in high school or college, should have on their shelves:

1. The Case For Life by Scott Klusendorf
2. Tactics by Greg Koukl
3. Persuasive Pro-Life by Trent Horn
4. Letters to a Young Progressive by Mike Adams
5. The Unaborted Socrates by Peter Kreeft.

2. Get Trained

While you are in the process of reading (and re-reading, then three-reading) some of the titles above, consider attending and even hosting a pro-life training seminar. Have a member of the LTI team come and speak to your church youth group, college ministry, Bible study, or at a local pregnancy resource center. Learning from those who have been working in the field of pro-life apologetics and activism, especially those who have years' worth of experience, will help encourage students and non-students alike to get involved and engaged on this important topic.

Consider also watching and discussing a debate on abortion, especially with friends and family who may not agree with the pro-life view but are interested in talking about it. For starters, here is a recent debate between Scott Klusendorf and Dr. Nadine Strossen at Wayne State University.

3. Build a relationship with your local pro-life ministry

In many cities across the United States, pro-lifers have started pregnancy centers to help those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy find the care they really need as opposed to abortion. Many of these ministries or pregnancy resource centers are staffed by volunteers and rely mostly on donations to engage in the lifesaving work that they do. Building a relationship with the men and women working in these ministries can help students become aware of the resources available to their peers and colleagues at the local high school or college. Having a relationship with the local pro-life ministry can also put students in touch with potential mentors who have matured while working in the pro-life movement and learn to show love and compassion to those hurting from abortion.

Even doing something as simple as having a stack of brochures and resources on abortion alternatives within driving range of a school can be of importance.

Putting these three objectives into practice can help any student become an effective pro-life ambassador within the sphere of influence that they have been placed in and to be equipped to make a difference to those around them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

So Joss Whedon Made a Planned Parenthood Propaganda Film... [Clinton Wilcox]

There's no doubt Joss Whedon is a great director. I have the entire Firefly series on DVD and I'm a huge fan of the Avengers movies (and I have friends who sing the praises of his other shows, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse). However, in a bizarre turnaround, Whedon has set his sights on promoting Planned Parenthood by filming a three-minute short film called Unlocked. The film, of course, is well-made, but it doesn't make any sense.

The film essentially opens displaying three situations, a woman suffering with cancer, a couple who contracted an STD, and a girl who finds herself pregnant but was recently accepted to college. These three people were unable to go into Planned Parenthood because it was closed. The film essentially plays in reverse, so you see the outcomes of these three situations before you see them start. It's a creative way to film the project, but again, the project, itself, is divorced from reality. Then the video starts playing forward and these people can suddenly enter Planned Parenthood because it opens, where smiling clinic workers give information, cancer screenings, and birth control pills to anyone who wants it. Of course what the film doesn't show is that even if Planned Parenthood is closed, there are other health centers that serve low-income women who can pick up the slack. As of 2015, there are 20 community health clinics for every Planned Parenthood in the United States.

Of course, the film doesn't focus on the abortions, the film just focuses on the other services that they provide. No one likes to focus on the abortions, despite the fact that abortions are more important to Planned Parenthood than providing health to women. When Trump offered Planned Parenthood an ultimatum, they opted to continue providing abortions, even if it meant losing federal funding. Not to mention that whenever the government has threatened to stop funds going to Planned Parenthood in their bills, they redirect that funding to other health centers. No woman would need to stop being seen if Planned Parenthood were to close up its doors.

On the page where you can view the video (and sign a petition to stand with Planned Parenthood), their words are apt: "...it's our responsibility to use our superpowers to slay." Of course, Planned Parenthood's "superpower" is for stronger people to exercise power over weaker people and slay them because those weaker people are in the way of something they want, namely unrestricted sex, financial freedom, etc.

In Whedon's own words, "UNLOCKED is about what a world without Planned Parenthood would look like, which is truly dire." All it does is show how duped he is by Planned Parenthood's talking points. It doesn't make any sort of argument, it just assumes that without them no one is going to be able to find the healthcare that they need, never mind the fact that our government has now given us socialized healthcare, so what excuse is there now for not having healthcare? It also assumes that people will never be able to get sex education, despite the fact that all public schools have a sex education program.

This is an abortion-choice propaganda piece, nothing more. Unfortunately neither Joss Whedon, nor Planned Parenthood, believe women are capable of succeeding without killing their children. How degrading to women to be told that you can't succeed if you are doing exactly what sets women apart from men, getting pregnant and bearing a child. It's disguised misogyny. The question posed at the end is "what world do you want?" My answer is I want the world where Planned Parenthood isn't killing hundreds of thousands of unborn babies every year.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Quick Thought On the "Inconsistency" Objections

During some pro-life outreach in Los Angeles this past week with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, one of the common objections that kept being made again and again was that pro-lifers were "inconsistent" for opposing abortion while not giving support to some particular option on a social issue.

Take the issue of aid for foreign refugees for example. One angry protestor at our outreach was shouting "I'll bet you aren't helping any refugee kids! And you call yourselves 'pro-life'!"

The problem with highlighting these "inconsistencies" is that in many (if not all) cases abortion is not entirely parallel with the other issue being mentioned. For example, here is the pro-life argument, in a syllogism (a formal argument):
Premise 1: It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.
Premise 2: Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being.
Conclusion: Therefore, abortion is wrong.
Since the question "Does abortion kill a human being?" can be answered through the science of embryology by determining whether or not there is a human being present in the womb during abortion, then anyone who objects to this argument must use the science of embryology and fetology to answer that question. Similarly, they must also use philosophy and moral reasoning to demonstrate (conclusively) why any difference between two separate human beings can be used to justify killing one but not the other, and why that particular difference is the one we should acknowledge, both in our laws and our moral decision making.

The problem with comparing other social issues to abortion and thus calling those who oppose abortion "inconsistent" is that many of the issues that are typically mentioned tend not to be an issue over who or what we are going to purposely kill. In fact, many are just the opposite. For example, the debate over giving aid and shelter to foreign refugees is not about whether or not it is morally permissible to kill refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. (If it was, those opposed to abortion would most assuredly speak out against the act). Rather, it concerns what the best way the U.S. government should provide aid to foreign refugees while also maintaining the security and safety of American citizens.

Likewise, attacking pro-life conservatives for calling themselves "pro-life" while taking a non-Leftwing stance on the healthcare issue is just as absurd. Republicans who oppose abortion are not opposing socialized healthcare because they are trying to kill those who "need" socialized healthcare; rather, they do so because they think there are better alternatives. The debate over healthcare is how to fix a damaged system in the most effective and moral way possible.

Instead of arguing for why abortion is permissible, the abortion-choicer just engages in a lazy Ad Hominem slander of those they disagree with. Even if the slander happens to be true, if the argument against abortion succeeds, then anyone committed to truth and moral goodness should oppose abortion.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Response to Preston Yancey [Serge - Dr. Richard Poupard]

I read with interest this article in the Washington Post by Preston Yancey. It is the latest in a seemingly never-ending stream of articles claiming that those who are dedicated to oppose the intentional killing of defenseless human beings aren't really "pro-life" unless they also support (enter government program here). In his case it is opposing recent changes to the Medicaid program.

I am an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and have seen patients with rare but devastating diagnosis of craniofacial microsomia. I am very well aware of the needs that those with a very severe case of CM. My heart goes out to this family and I am very happy that they have found the care they need for precious Jack. My pro-life convictions state that every human being is valuable, regardless of any physical or mental disability. I hope that care continues and will fight to ensure that it does.

Yancey then tries to argue against the changes that have been made in medicaid. First - a point of agreement. It is not true that medicaid is for "lazy, uneducated, or selfish people". In fact, when my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of one, we were eligible to enter into a state run program run by medicaid for her diabetic supplies (we ultimately did not - which is another story about govt for another time.) We should strive to end this ugly stereotype. I also am against the death penalty and believe that animals should be raised and slaughtered ethically. Agreement!

Then he makes his central point:

I want to believe better of the pro-life community. I want to believe they care about Jack’s long-term health and not just the fact that he was born. I want to call them pro-life, not antiabortion. But the conversations (or the silence) around health care makes us wonder.

He seems to imply that there is not waste in the system, or that some do not take unfair advantage to this and other entitlement programs. Mr. Yancey - if this is your point, you are simply wrong. We can agree that patients like Jack should be covered, but also there is a way to decrease the amount of inefficiency in the system. That way more resources go to those in need - which seems consistent with the Christian (and, of course, pro-life) ethic.

Is the current state of medicaid the best most efficient way to deliver care to those in need? You did not mention that Jack's medicaid benefits will not change (unless you get off and then back on medicaid) under the recently passed house plan. Right now 75% of the beneficiaries of medicaid are children or young adults, while they receive only 33% of medicaid funding. Is this really the best we can do?

So, you can be pro-life and not necessarily support every increase in government participation in health care. To argue otherwise is simplistic and frankly lazy. I am very glad that Jack is in this world and receiving the care he needs. Since human value does not stem from our abilities, but our image of our Creator, we should care for all in need. I also believe that we have a responsibility to do so in as efficient and effective manner as possible. It is theoretically possible that the present medicare system is the best one we can create - but that would necessitate an actual argument. We certainly did not get one here.